Is preisthood a superior calling to marriage?


#1

Is being called to become a priest a higher calling rather than being called to marriage? If it is why? Or are these both equal callings? why?
Thanks so much
Twright


#2

They’re equal. Vocation can be towards marriage, priesthood, religious life, or perhaps a non-religious career.

That’s my understanding of it anyway. All of them are equal. How can the job of bringing new life into the world be less important than being a Priest? Each vocation cannot exist without the other, so it would be strange for one to be considered more important.


#3

[quote="LemonAndLime, post:2, topic:241027"]
They're equal. Vocation can be towards marriage, priesthood, religious life, or perhaps a non-religious career.

That's my understanding of it anyway. All of them are equal. How can the job of bringing new life into the world be less important than being a Priest? Each vocation cannot exist without the other, so it would be strange for one to be considered more important.

[/quote]

I used to think along the lines you did, but according to the general sentiment here, a call to the priesthood is greater than a call to the married life: forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=361292

Thank you,
Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk


#4

[quote="Bohm_Bawerk, post:3, topic:241027"]
I used to think along the lines you did, but according to the general sentiment here, a call to the priesthood is greater than a call to the married life: forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=361292

Thank you,
Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk

[/quote]

They're talking more about religious life than the Priesthood though I think.

Maybe I don't understand the teaching/reasoning, but I find that mildly insulting as a female, that my choosing to aim towards marriage and raising children is not as good as being a Priest (something which I could never do). In a roundabout kind of way, it's vaguely insulting to womanhood, or women who do not want to become nuns.


#5

Someone asked that question on Father Mitch Pakwa's program the other night. Father said that the priesthood is not superior to marriage, that a person is called to a vocation and answers the call.


#6

I recall a story I read about when, IIRC, Pope John XXIII was elevated to the papacy and his mother was present to witness it. He came to her at the end of the ceremony and held out his papal ring and said to her, "I want you to be the first to kiss the ring of the fisherman."

She did and then held out her worn wedding band and said, "Now, Joseph, you kiss this one... if it weren't for this one, you wouldn't have that one."

Can't have marriage without the priesthood... and I guess you really can't have the priesthood without marriage, either.


#7

Holy Orders does leave a mark on your soul, but women religious is just as high of a calling as men religious/priests. Just because women cannot be priests doesn’t mean men are better. Just like men not having the body parts to give birth doesn’t make women better. Each gender is different (roles, bodies, brain chemistry, etc.), but equal in the eyes of God.

The religious life (priest, nun, etc.) is considered a higher calling than marriage. It is a supernatural calling, sort of a spiritual marriage to God, and you dedicate your life to Him alone. You can focus on God, doing good for the Church, etc.

Marriage is a natural calling. It is still a great calling, just not as high as the religious life. Marriage is an important vocation because two people help each other grow in holiness and also the children they raise expand the Church and keep it going. In general, married people tend to focus more on their families and each other and things “of this world” than God because of their day-to-day life. It is very difficult to stay dedicated to your family while you’re doing work for the Church and travelling like some religious orders do, which is why the two callings are separate.

Both callings are good in the eyes of God, and both are designed to lead you to heaven, to help you grow in holiness and become the best person you can be.

Although marriage is a great calling, every young adult should at least consider the priesthood/religious life first. If you don’t feel called, marriage is a noble choice, and then there are people who live in the world as single people (chosen not to marry) consecrated to God. But you don’t want to miss out on the chance of a supernatural calling over a natural one. Then again, some people who initially feel called to religious life cannot control their urges, so marriage is a better choice for them so they don’t cause scandal to the Church.


#8

That’s an awesome story! :smiley:

You know, this is a question I have secretly wondered myself, especially after I read works by the saints. For example, in St. Faustina’s diary, God says to her, "TLook at the sky…the stars are the souls of faithful Christians and the moon is the souls of religious. Do you see how great the difference is between the light of the moon and the light of the stars? Such is the difference in heaven between the soul of a religious and the soul of a faithful Christian."

I know that this is one private revelation, but if you read the works of the saints, like St. Catherine of Siena, St. Teresa of Avila and other Doctors of the Church, you see the same sentiment repeated over and over. When I read this stuff, it makes me feel like the vocation God called me to- marriage- isn’t as special; that God has chosen some souls in particular to be closer to and these souls are His religious. :frowning: Has anyone else ever felt that way? Or am I being overly sensitive?


#9

A priest brings us the Creator of the Universe with his consecrated hands. I can't imagine anything more important or relevant.

I'm a woman and I'm not the least bit insulted by that. Why in the world would I take it personally that men and women are different, and not everything in life is equal. And not all women can have children.

God bless our priests.

~Liza


#10

From the 24th session of the Council of Trent:

Canon X. If anyone saith that the marriage state is to be placed above the state of virginity and of celibacy, and that it is not better and more blessed to remain in virginity, or in celibacy, than to be united in matrimony; let him be anathema.

So, the priesthood (which requires the celibate state in the western church) is "better and more blessed".


#11

It looks like the OP also asked the same question in the Ask an Apologist section.

Fr. Vincent Serpa's reply, which is along the same lines that some posters here used.

*Hi,

There is nothing on the face of the earth that can equal the sacramental priesthood of Jesus Christ because it is his priesthood. No human being is worthy of the supreme honor of changing bread and wine into his precious body and blood. No one is worthy to absolve the sins of others. In short; no one is worthy to minister in the Person of Christ.

Nevertheless, he chooses weak, sinful human beings to be his priests. In calling God down upon our altars, there is nothing in the world that can compare with the ministry of the priest—nothing.

But it must be remembered that without marriage there would be no priests. Blessed John Paul wrote that matrimony is the primordial sacrament because it peoples all the other sacraments. Christian marriage remains the great sign of Christ’s intimate relationship with his people. Every vocation is special because it leads us to God. In fact, the goal of religious life and the priesthood and marriage is the same: union with God.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P. *


#12

[quote="InSearchofGrace, post:11, topic:241027"]
It looks like the OP also asked the same question in the Ask an Apologist section.

Fr. Vincent Serpa's reply, which is along the same lines that some posters here used.
Hi,

*There is nothing on the face of the earth that can equal the sacramental priesthood of Jesus Christ because it is his priesthood. No human being is worthy of the supreme honor of changing bread and wine into his precious body and blood. No one is worthy to absolve the sins of others. In short; no one is worthy to minister in the Person of Christ. *

Nevertheless, he chooses weak, sinful human beings to be his priests. In calling God down upon our altars, there is nothing in the world that can compare with the ministry of the priest—nothing.

*But it must be remembered that without marriage there would be no priests. Blessed John Paul wrote that matrimony is the primordial sacrament because it peoples all the other sacraments. Christian marriage remains the great sign of Christ’s intimate relationship with his people. Every vocation is special because it leads us to God. In fact, the goal of religious life and the priesthood and marriage is the same: union with God. *

*Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P. *

[/quote]

Excellent and concise response from Fr. Vincent Serpa as always - a good one to keep on file. Thank you for sharing.

Some inks on marriage:

John Paul II ""Marriage is the Central Point of Creation" (Gemeral Audience October 1982)ewtn.com/library/papaldoc/jp2tb96.htm

"John Paul's Theology of the Body -Key to an Authentic Marital & Family Spirituality"
(Christoper West) - Crossroads Initiative
crossroadsinitiative.com/library_article/324/John_Paul_II_s_Theology_of_the_Body_Christopher_West.html

TS


#13

[quote="LemonAndLime, post:4, topic:241027"]
They're talking more about religious life than the Priesthood though I think.

Maybe I don't understand the teaching/reasoning, but I find that mildly insulting as a female, that my choosing to aim towards marriage and raising children is not as good as being a Priest (something which I could never do). In a roundabout kind of way, it's vaguely insulting to womanhood, or women who do not want to become nuns.

[/quote]

I don't blame you for being insulted. This is a silly argument. To prove my point, if all the Mom's stopped being Mom's who would the priests minister to.

There are many gifts, but the same Spirit. God calls each of us to serve Him in the building up of the kingdom. There are no "less important" callings. No unimportant vocations. They are all vital.

As a Mom (and a Dad) you are the primary teacher of the souls whom God has entrusted to you. No priest, bishop or Pope could ever fill that role.

A woman who takes her vocation as wife and mother seriously and prayerfully is one of God's greatest works. Don't ever feel that you are anything less than anyone else, including a priest.


#14

The priesthood is a higher calling then marriage for somebody called to the priesthood, yes. The highest calling for any person is what they are called to.

Quick list of married saints of the top of my head. Blessed Virgin, St. Joseph, St. Monica (without which no St. Augustine) and St. Gianni (sp) (20th century saint). Not bad company to be.


#15

[quote="whm, post:14, topic:241027"]
The priesthood is a higher calling then marriage for somebody called to the priesthood, yes. The highest calling for any person is what they are called to.

Quick list of married saints of the top of my head. Blessed Virgin, St. Joseph, St. Monica (without which no St. Augustine) and St. Gianni (sp) (20th century saint). Not bad company to be.

[/quote]

I agree. Nothing is higher than God's Will for a person. Which vocation is superior, depends on which perspective you are considering. The Church has long maintained that celibate chastity is superior objectively on a theological level or the objective theological. But when you couple the objective with the subjective and personal vocations are the subjective and objective, nothing can transcend God's Will in all things including one's vocation in life. Hence the call to marriage is the highest for those God calls to marriage; religious life for those God calls to religious life and the priesthood for those called to the priesthood.
If we did not have marriage and married people, the human race itself would die out along with all vocations and The Church and that is on the natural objective level. All vocations are related to each other, connected to each other, appreciate each other, need each other.

We are all called to Unity with God and our vocation in life is that particular path God wishes us to take to Unity with Him, along with the Graces to do so.

TS


#16

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.